When Should You Stop Wearing Jeans? (Or anything else?)

December 1, 2016

Girl with Pink Shoes by Viktor Janacek

Someone I know posted an article on Facebook a while back with this provocative title: “Is there an age limit on wearing jeans?” It only took me a second to answer it in my own mind: No way, jeans forever!

I love jeans and wear them all the time – dressed up and dressed down. My mother, who’s in her 70s, still wears jeans and looks great. Not everyone does feel comfortable in denim, though, and I can see a person getting to a place where they don’t like to wear them anymore. But, if you’re still digging jeans and they make you feel good, why not keep wearing them for as long as you want?

Generally, I think a person should wear what they want to wear… to a point. I mean, we all have lines we draw, right? There are certain styles or pieces of clothing that feel too “young” for me to wear now. For instance, I still wear short skirts, but not as short as I wore in my 20s and 30s. And aside from the gym or the beach, I wouldn’t be caught dead showing my midriff. When you do that in your 40s it just screams to me: “I still want to be 22!” And who wants to be 22 again? Well, maybe some of us do, but I don’t.

A lot goes into wardrobe choices, of course, besides the sensibilities that come with age. There are things like culture, weather, taste, budget, etc. For me it’s also about appropriateness and respect. Sweat pants at church? No. Ripped jeans at a professional meeting? Don’t think so. Does this make me old-fashioned? I don’t think so. I think respect for the people and situations we’re in, as well as for ourselves, should never be ignored no matter what we prefer to wear.

So what do you think? Are you a jeans-forever person? Are there certain things you don’t wear anymore or things you’ve begun wearing and wouldn’t be caught dead in anymore? Spill the beans!

Image: Viktor Hanacek for Picjumbo





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1 Anna December 1, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Of course there’s nothing wrong with wearing jeans, etc., as an old lady. . . but on the other hand, I really appreciate the fact that when I was a child, old people like my grandparents had a certain air of dignity that was somewhat connected to their dress and bearing. I don’t know – sure, jeans are comfy – but maybe we owe it to our youngers to be elders for them. I don’t know for sure, but at the moment, my plan is to avoid things like jeans, sloppy shapeless t-shirts, and hanging-down shoulder-length grey hair when I’m a granny. I guess we’ll see what happens. . .


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3 Mary Jo Paul December 2, 2016 at 2:55 pm

I will be 78 in a few months, and I love wearing jeans, however, I agree with you, Zoe, that there is a time and a place for everything. While at home or running errands, jeans are my standard, but I believe that one should wear the appropriate clothing for the circumstances. I like to look nice and feel comfortable what ever I am doing or where I am going. I must feel good about what I’m wearing, so that rules out many of the things that I wore in my youth. I love my life and I am happy to be active and functioning.

Anna, I AM a grandmother, and I like to sit on the floor or roll in the grass at the park and play with my grand daughters. I display my air of dignity when necessary, but being the kind of a hands-on grandmother that I wished I had as a youth is a higher priority right now. Maybe I’ll feel differently in ten years … but maybe not.


4 Anna December 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Good for you – now I think about it, both my grandmas were much too stiff and frail to roll around on the grass long before they were your age, and maybe how they dressed was part of how they got that way. (Not that they weren’t hands-on grandmothers: especially with my mom’s mom, I have such great memories of long visits that included all kinds of gardening, baking, and craft projects we did together.)

So I think you’re right about the right garb for the situation – I guess what I really mean is that as I get older, I aspire to generally dress less casually for everyday, like the old people of my childhood – barring times when rolling on the grass is planned, of course. In fact, I already find (in my forties) that I can’t get away with the sloppy casualness that looks fine in one’s twenties.


5 Therese December 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

My first instinct is to say that people should wear whatever they want – it seems like one of the privileges of aging should be to care less about what others think. But your examples made me realize that I do have limits. I know a professor who teaches in a t-shirt and jeans. He’s brilliant, a great guy, and a great teacher, but it took a bit to get past the clothes and the first time I met him I assumed that he was a student. Also, in a previous job, we had “casual Friday,” which to me has always meant you relax the suits and wear “business casual.” However, being in CA and in a clothing environment that was already very casual, I sometimes wondered if people had even changed out of the clothes that they’d slept in. Recalling those situation, I laughingly admit that I agree with your message about being appropriately professional.


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